NCAA

Reiss' Pieces: Stanford's Nastic goes down

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Reiss' Pieces: Stanford's Nastic goes down

Let's start with the headliner: Stanford Center Stefan Nastic sustained a concussion Saturday in practice when he took an inadvertent blow to the head. He missed Sunday's exhibition game and has not practiced since. More tests were done Tuesday - no word yet on those results. Nastic is questionable for Friday's season opener against USF...I think Stef is one of the real X-factors on this team. He will be the only "true center" among the upperclassmen, and while we will undoubtedly see a lot of Dwight Powell and John Gage at the "5," Nastic gives Stanford a different element at that position if he can stay healthy and productive...RELATED: Stanford roster Season schedule
Powell's shoulder tweak appears to be of the minor variety. He was banging with the big boys at practice Tuesday...Speaking of banging, you only need to watch about 5 minutes of practice to notice the Mark Madsen influence on this team. His energy is infectious, and the players are really responding. A palpable difference from seasons past...Aaron Bright is embracing his role as co-captain. He is far and away the most vocal player on the court...This team takes its commitment to defense seriously. The players are buying into that philosophy - a philosophy that won them an NIT championship last season. Every time somebody takes a charge in practice, the entire squad applauds and gathers around the guy with his butt on the floor...A season in the weight room has done wonders for several Cardinal, most notably Gage, Josh Huestis, and... Gabe Harris. Yes, the smallish guard looks substantially thicker, and appears poised to take over the Jarrett Mann role of defensive stopperbackup ballhandler - but with at least the threat of knocking down an outside shot. Harris is showing no ill effects from the knee injury that sidelined him most of last season...Ditto for Andy Brown, who says he feels great. Not sure how much PT Brown will receive, but he will be a fan favorite when he gets onto the floor...Elliot Bullock is back from his Mormon mission - bigger and balder. The 6-11 FC and walkon F Jack Ryan will redshirt this season...That's not the case for any of Stanford's three true freshmen, at least for now. Coach Dawkins told me has has no immediate plans to redshirt Roscoe Allen, Grant Verhoeven, or Christian Sanders...Verhoeven will likely get the most run of the three freshmen out of the gate. He has some bulk on him and at 6-9, and can provide quality low-post depth. Verhoeven is also a gym rat who has NBA pedigree - his father Pete played six years in the league. Grant has a nose for the ball around the basket, and don't sleep on him as an outside threat - he spent quite some time after practice stroking straightaway threes. My guess is he'll hit more than one of those as a "trailer" this season...I'm not sure how much Allen and Sanders will play early on, with all the talent ahead of them. Allen clearly has a feel for the game, and is not as rail thin as I would've thought from his high school footage. Sanders showed great form in hitting a long jump shot during Sunday's exhibition...Anthony Brown changed his jersey number from 3 to 21. He bolted for class before I had a chance to ask him about it, but word on the street is he just wanted a "fresh start." Only connection I can see is 21=3. And no, I didn't burn too many brain cells coming up with that..Nothing to report on Chasson Randle, other than he is still Chasson Randle. Best player on the floor...Special guest observer at practice Tuesday: Joe Morgan. His daughter, you might know, is a gymnast at Stanford. Joe likes to check in on the hoopsters when he is on campus.AP Images

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.